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In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

, 432 pages

12 halftones

June 2010



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In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

New Paradigms and Social Visions

Assessing the damage left by Hurricane Katrina in social, cultural, and physical terms, the essays in this volume suggest that the nation’s long and historic engagement with the Gulf Coast has entered a new era.

While many of the essays analyze Katrina in terms of the relatively recent past, others explore how reaction to the hurricane’s aftermath is rooted in the region’s history. Uniquely combining humanities and social sciences research, the contributors reevaluate the political, social, and economic dynamics that existed before this "natural" disaster and the subsequent responses and actions, or lack thereof.

Investigations of public policies, organizations, social movements, and neoliberalism range from a traditional policy case study of the often-neglected Alabama and Mississippi experience to an analysis of urban social movements in New Orleans to a broad critique of local policy that has global implications. Innovative young scholars provide essays on music, literature, tourism, and gender. Interviews with key community leaders and historic poets round out the volume.

The many social, political, racial, economic, and personal disasters that followed Katrina produced intellectual dilemmas. How could this happen in the wealthiest nation in the world? How could the U.S. government so callously abandon its citizens when they so desperately needed federal aid? Why was the most powerful military in the world unable or unwilling to act? Readers will find in this collection compelling answers to these, and other, complicated questions.

Clyde Woods is an associate professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Development Arrested: Race, Power, and the Blues in the Mississippi Delta and the coeditor of Black Geographies and the Politics of Place.

" In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina may well be the most important American studies book ever published. It shows that the abandonment of the Black working class in New Orleans in 2005 was not an aberrant response to an unexpected natural disaster, but rather part and parcel of a larger pattern of suppression that was firmly in place long before the hurricane hit."

"A wide-ranging, powerful survey of the many forces affecting the Katrina decisions."

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